1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 is full of practical guidance, teaching Christians how we should live in this world and how we should treat others.  1 Thessalonians 4:11 says, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”  Let’s break this verse down by sections and see the instructions we have in it.  The Lord would have us to aspire to three things in this verse:

“STUDY TO BE QUIET.” – The Amplified Bible translates this portion as, “make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully.”  This corresponds with what we read in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; THAT WE MIGHT LEAD A QUIET AND PEACEABLE LIFE in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” As faithful followers of the Lord Jesus, we should not strive to have all the attention on us.  Charles Wesley once said, “Keep us little and unknown, prized and loved by God alone.”  To this point, J.N. Darby once said, “Learn to grapple with souls. Aim at the conscience, exalt Christ. Use a sharp knife with yourself. Say little, serve all, pass on. This is true greatness – TO SERVE UNNOTICED AND WORK UNSEEN. Oh, the joy of having nothing, and being nothing, seeing nothing but a living Christ in glory, and being careful for nothing but His interests down here!” 

“DO YOUR OWN BUSINESS.” – We should not be meddlers…imposing ourselves in situations that do not concern us.  The Apostle Paul addressed such people in 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12, “For we hear that there are some which walk among you DISORDERLY, working not at all, but are BUSYBODIES. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” 1 Timothy speaks of “tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”  It is NEVER a good thing to stick our noses where they do not belong.  We should be concerned with the spiritual and physical well being of all those around us, but personal matters should be left personal.

“WORK WITH YOUR OWN HANDS.” – If at all possible, we should be self-supportive and work to provide for ourselves and our loved ones.  We read in Ephesians 4:28, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”  Rather than taking that which is not ours, we should work so that we can afford to give what is ours to others in need.  Perhaps those who are busybodies have refused to work…spending their days in gathering and sharing gossip.  To that, we read in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that IF ANY WOULD NOT WORK, NEITHER SHOULD HE EAT.”

Let’s look now at 1 Thessalonians 4:12, “That ye may walk honestly toward them that are WITHOUT, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”  Those who are ‘without’ are those who are strangers to the grace of God…those who are not saved.  It is imperative that we, as Christians, keep a good testimony before the unsaved so that by our behavior, we might help win them to Christ.  How dishonoring it is to Christ and harmful to the Gospel of Christ if we demand attention to ourselves, if we are busybodies, and if we refuse to work.  We need to be careful to exhibit, “behaviour as becometh holiness.” (Titus 2:3) before the world so that they might see Christ in us.  (CC)  (490.2)